The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Episode 18

Gramma/Personal Demons/Cold Reading (14 Feb. 1986)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 147 users  
Reviews: 5 user

In "Personal Demons", a blocked writer copes with destructive black-clad creatures that can only be seen by him. In "Cold Reading", an understudy copes with radio director Nelson Westbrook's insistence on real sound effects.


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Georgie (segment "Gramma")
Mom (segment "Gramma")
Frederick Long ...
Gramma (segment "Gramma")
Rockne S. O'Bannon (segment "Personal Demons")
Agent (segment "Personal Demons")
Joshua Shelley ...
Herman Gold (segment "Personal Demons")
Tommy Madden ...
Creature #1 (segment "Personal Demons")
Marlena Giovi ...
Widow (segment "Personal Demons")
Penny Baker ...
Pam (segment "Personal Demons")
Stephen Flanigan ...
Harry (Segment "Personal Demons")
Creature (segment "Personal Demons")
Gary Friedkin ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons")
Kevin Thompson ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons")
Daniel Frishman ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons") (as Dan Frishman)
Lou Carry ...
Creature (segment "Personal Demons")


In GRAMMA, a long-standing family tradition is passed to the next generation when young George looks after his invalid grandmother during his mother's absence. Blocked hack writer Rockne O'Bannon is plagued by destructive PERSONAL DEMONS that only he can see. During the heyday of radio, a director plans a COLD READING of a play with authentic special effects. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Release Date:

14 February 1986 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the series for which Rockne S. O'Bannon (Martin Balsam) wrote was Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (1958). Balsam appeared in an episode of that series entitled Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse: The Time Element (1958), which served as the unofficial pilot of The Twilight Zone (1959). See more »


References Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

A decent King adaptation/Martin Balsam meets gremlins
25 March 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The first segment of episode 18 of series 1 of THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE is entitled GRAMMA and based on one of Stephen King's more frightening short stories. The question is whether this low budget show could actually do justice to the power of the King story.

The answer? A resounding yes! This is the best story of the series I've yet seen, and it's a story that actually manages to be frightening. The horror in the tale is present from the very beginning and the fast pace really adds to the energetic feel of the production. Even better, the titular menace is actually scary, and the way they film her without actually showing much of her makes her presence all the more sinister. The Lovecraftian nods are also more than welcome.

The second story, PERSONAL DEMONS, sees Martin Balsam playing a washed-up writer suffering from writer's block who's desperate for one last original idea. To that end, a gang of black-clad gremlins appear in his home and proceed to wreak havoc; they're there to help him of course. There isn't really much to this story (other than a typically assured performance from Balsam); lasting only 15 minutes, it has scant time to introduce the premise and develop it, let alone providing much in the way of a twist.

The final segment of the episode is by far the weakest. COLD READING is about radio sound effects which by the power of magic come to life. So we have scenes like the one in which a team of sound recorders find themselves menaced by real-life jungle animals which suddenly show up in the room. It's a comedy, a waste of time and best forgotten in favour of the previous segments.

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